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Maryland State Sport - Jousting


[photo, Horseback rider spearing the ring at jousting event] Jousting became the official sport of Maryland in 1962 (Chapter 134, Acts of 1962; Code State Government Article, sec. 13-308). Maryland was the first state to adopt an official sport.

Jousting tournaments have been held in Maryland since early colonial times but became increasingly popular after the Civil War. Retaining the pageantry and customs of medieval tournaments, modern competitors are called "knights" or "maids", and many dress in colorful costumes. Men, women and children compete equally with skill and horsemanship determining the class.

Horseback rider spearing the ring at jousting event. Photo by R.A.R.E., courtesy of Peggy and Bruce Hoffman, Maryland Jousting Tournament Association.


Tournaments conducted in Maryland are "ring tournaments" which involve charging a horse at full-gallop through an 80-yard course toward suspended rings. Using a long, fine-tipped lance, the rider has 8 seconds to complete the course and "spear" the rings, scoring points accordingly. From three equally-spaced arches, rings are hung 6 feet 9 inches above the ground and range in diameter from one-quarter inch to nearly two inches depending upon the skill-level of the contestant. A family sport, jousting skills frequently are passed from one generation to the next.

Today, jousting competitions are held May through October in Maryland. On October 6, 2001, the annual Maryland State Jousting Championship will be held at the Tuckahoe Equestrian Center on Crouse Mill Road in Tuckahoe State Park, Queen Anne, Queen Anne's County.

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 Maryland Manual On-Line, 2002

November 5, 2002   
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